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The Art of Curiosity


The first time I went to an art museum, I was a sophomore in college. It’s been many years since that first encounter but its impact has remained. Wherever I travel, I want to see their art.
This is not the preference of my partner, however. He would rather check out the food and beverage scene, or go to a baseball game in the cities we visit.

Last autumn, after returning home from a solo trip to the Art Institute of Chicago, he asked me, “Why do you like going to art museums so much?”

Woodblock Print 2022
14″ x 10.25″

He always asks a lot of questions, yet this one took me by surprise.

My mind flashed back to earlier in the day where I was standing in front of a display of 8th century Peruvian pottery. They were head-shaped vessels with handles and spouts, stunningly modern looking. Then, in an another instant, all the other amazing art that I had seen during my inquiry whizzed by in my mind’s eye – from the tiny to the colossal, ancient to contemporary – all made by people like me, people like us. I felt incredibly enriched and happy.

“It’s uplifting,” I said in my distilled reply.

Still aglow, this led me into a conversation about sharing my love of art through the act of gifting museum memberships at Christmastime.

“No, no,” my husband said. “They would rather go to a zoo.”

“Animals are inspiring too,” I said. I should know since I grew up on a farm, and I do truly enjoy watching and learning from animals – like that cats are curious and ponies, stubborn.

There is an old saying that goes “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink.” It’s true, I’ve witnessed it. I’ve also seen that if a horse gets thirsty enough or becomes un-stubborn enough, they can suck up a five gallon bucket of water in less than 30 seconds. Because at some point, in their own time, they discover they really need it – you just have to be patient, and ready.

Now, our family has plans to go to the zoo and a baseball game this summer. I’ll take it. Being together and enjoying things together is important, no matter the activity. Not everyone is artistic or even cares about art. Some people might think that it’s not needed as much as a zoo or a sports arena to make a city vital, whole, and competitive. I beg to differ.

From my perspective, art inspires, nudges, informs, and uplifts humanity like nothing else can. And I believe that art, and its’ positive benefits, are accessible to all who simply have the curiosity.

Someday, maybe, my family will really want to go to a museum with me.

I must me patient. I must be ready.

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